Frenchman's 'fish soup' pizza beats Italy to world cup crown

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Frenchman Ludovic Bicchierai, centre, won top prize at Italy's pizza world championships. Photo: Campionato Mondiale della Pizza
11:33 CEST+02:00
Frenchman Ludovic Bicchierai has been crowned the world's best pizza-maker thanks to a dish inspired by the French fish soup, bouillabaisse.

Bicchierai, who works at the Pizzeria La Gusto in Sausset les Pins, just outside Marseilles, scooped top prize late last week after wowing judges with the unconventional seafood pizza at the 25th edition of the Pizza World Championships in Parma.

The pizza was topped with tomatoes, bream carpaccio, mozzarella, courgette flowers, prawns and Tabasco sauce - flavours the Frenchman says were inspired by Provençal cuisine.

“This is the second time I've taken part in the competition, but this year I thought I'd use the traditional French fish soup as my inspiration,” he said.

In order to get his hands on the prestigious pizza gong, not to mention a voucher for 1000kg of free flour, Bicchierai had to beat off competition from 650 pizza-makers from 35 different countries around the globe.

Non-Italians have only managed to scoop top prize in the contest twice before - in 2011 and 2015 – but nobody was begrudging the Frenchman his victory.

“Even though pizza is an Italian icon, it's always a pleasure for us to see foreigners walk away with the prize from time to time,” event spokesperson Patrizio Carrer told The Local.

While Italy missed out on first prize this year, second and third places were taken by two Sicilians, Alfio Russo and Niccolo Cusumano, from Siracusa and Messsina, respectively.

The Frenchman's victory came a week after an outcry was prompted by a French carbonara recipe video, which offended Italian viewers with its liberal interpretation of the authentic dish.

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Prime Minister Matteo Renzi also fanned the flames of the two countries' food rivalry last week, by insisting that Italian wines had overtaken French ones in terms of quality.

For now at least, the French can lay claim to the world's best pizza-maker.

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